ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC UBBARY
1833 01084 7090
Digitized by the Internet Archive
THIRTY-SIXTH ANNUAL REUNION
OLD SETTLERS q^^^^^--^
AUGUST 21st, 1902
IOWA CITY, IOWA
OLD SETTLERS OF JOHNSON COUNTY,
AT THEIR ANNUAL REUNION, AUGUST 21, 1902
One year ago the pioneers braving the dust and undismayed by
the awful drouth that then prevailed gathered in goodly numbers
at their annual festival.
Today they met under exactly opposite conditions of weather, the
dust was gone from the roads and in its place was mud. The
parched sands of the long dried up creeks and streams had disap-
peared beneath the long continued flood. The then brown land-
scape is now clothed with an almost tropical growth of vegetation
and despite the damaged crops, the broken trees and storm-torn
buildings, there is promise of plenty and good times to come.
Owing to bad roads, high water, gone-off bridges and doubtful
weather many were kept away.
At noon about five hundred had gathered and later in the day
several hundred more arrived.
Promptly at 1 2 o'clock President R. P. Howell called the assembly
to order, and the invocation was pronounced by Rev. DeWitt Clin-
ton, of the Methodist church. Immediately after President Howell
delivered the address of welcome, brief and to the point, inviting all
present to partake of the sumptuous feast spread on the long tables
beneath the shady apple trees.
After dinner all gathered at the speaker's stand. A. B. Swisher
was introduced and spoke as follows:
Addrejss of Mr. Swisher.
This generation is living what is called the "strenuous life." The
boy at the age of a child tries to be and thinks he is a man full
grown. The farmer requires the most expensive machinery, that
the greatest amount of labor can be performed in the least possible
time, with the result of more money and more land. The merchant
demands the largest and best selected stock and forces the same on
the market in the least possible time. The politician is strenuous
in the methods of securing nominations, capturing votes, mode of
life, increased assessment of taxes to be paid by the people and in
the distribution of the money that the treasury may be strenuously
relieved. The laborer, who with his organized unions attempts to
force higher wages, has adopted this life. Capital with its immense
corporations, trusts and combinations is in the full tide of this life.
Speculation is rife and touches almost all classes of our people. The
nation, in its reach after commerce and in its colonization of new
and foreign territory, has well in hand the present strenuous life.
What I have said is not for the purpose of criticism, nor is it for
the purpose of the approval of this life. There is in it both good
and bad. What I have said is more for the purpose of comparison.
How different the life of the pioneers of this county in the '30s
and early '40s! Then, in the memory of some of us here, our neigh-
bors were a tribe of Indians, whose city was in Jefferson and Monroe
townships. There were no markets west of the Mississippi river,
no grist mill nearer than Burlington. No fruit except that which
grew wild. The most of the clothing was manufactured in the home
by the loom and the spinning wheel. The ox and the lumber wagon
were the means of travel. Money was almost an unknown quantity
and most of this was "wild-cat." Then we had an abundance of
distance. From my old home, set among the hills of Jefferson town-
ship, where so many sacred memories cluster, to Cedar Rapids (a
distance of ten miles) but one house was passed — even after I was a
boy large enough to "go to town" with my father. From our old
home one might have gone northwest a thousand miles and would
have been met only by Indians and buffaloes. The privations were
many and great. The present generation will never experience such
as they were and can hardly appreciate what they were.
But life in those days was not all privations. With the privations
came the pleasures. All were then young, strong, self-reliant, inde-
pendent. They were blessed with the spirit of the conqueror; they
were here for the purpose of conquering the storm which swept down
from the northwest, from the ocean of prairie, to subdue the forest,
to reclaim the plains, to plant that others might water and gather
the fruit. They were here for the purpose of organizing the church,
of building the school house, of incorporating into the life of this
good county good government and splendid civilization. To ac-
complish these things, they were all neighbors, one to another.
Their sympathies were great, their friendship was strong, their hon-
esty rugged, their love abiding, and their happiness almost univer-
sal. These traits, desires, hopes and efforts in the pioneer life more
than balanced the hardships and privations.
No one, who has not had experience, can know or appreciate the
happiness that comes in the unselfish sympathy and friendship found
in a pioneer settlement, the satisfaction there is in watching the
development in the pioneer home, the building of the first school
house, the organization of the first Sunday school, the incoming of the
first train, of the "settler's" covered wagon, the settling of the
"mover" on the tract of land adjoining the pioneer home. These are
pleasures peculiar to the pioneer, which are ever prized in afterlife.
The building and development of a county in its resources, its
education, its moral worth, influence and civilization, is not dissimi-
lar to the construction of a great monument. The construction in
the beginning, the foundation, must be substantial, solid, and well
laid. The pioneers of this county were the constructors of the foun-
dations of the present greatness and magnificence of this county
which, for wealth, education, moral worth and political influence
combined, has no superior in this matchless state of ours. The
strength of the foundation is suflicient to support the weight of all
In this foundation there has been moulded the rugged granite
life of such men as Wray, DeVault, Brown, Adams, McCrory,
Howell, Dennis, Sanders, Dixon, Williams, Parvin, Stover, Borland,
Henderson, Cavanagh, Colony, Johnson, Wieneke, Hess, Sheperd,
Gower, Davis, Coldren, Dey, Finkbine, Fairall, Robinson, Patter-
son, Irish, Clark, Haddock, Ransom, Edmunds and many others I
cannot mention, but not forgetting that rugged giant, S. J. Kirk-
wood. These were solid granite slabs of the best of human life,
which cemented together have builded with great strength the
foundation of the greatness of this county.
The latter generation has well recognized the splendid service of
the pioneer in the beginning of the construction, and has continued
the good building until this county has been changed from a beauti-
ful expanse of forest and plain, sweetened with the fragrance of the
sweet William and honeysuckle, the plumb and crabapple, rich in
berries and wild fruit, roamed over by the deer and buffalo, storm-
swept by flood and blizzard, until now it is a county densely popu-
lated, wonderfully rich in its resources, renowned for its schools and
university, strong in its influence in state and nation, with a people
progressive, honest, intellectual, and moral.
We, today, have much to be thankful for and are justly proud of
our position, but the building of the great destiny of this county has
but just begun. The builders of the future must be strong, capable,
moral and just men if there be no unsound and weak places, when
the destiny of the county is fully completed. This will be so, as
humanity is ever growing better and more capable.
Such days as this are full of the most genuine pleasure. It is, at
least partially, a renewing of the unselfish love and sympathy that
was ever present in pioneer life. The great majority of the pioneers
have fought their rugged, hard and successful fight, have earned
their reward, have crossed the great river and have entered the longer
and greater life beyond. If honesty, integrity, love and sympa-
thy make that river narrow and shallow and easy of transit, then
these strong and good pioneers have crossed safely over, their boat
has sailed over a smooth sea and is safely anchored upon the shore
of that wonderful existence beyond.
Rev. S. N. Fellows was then introduced and delivered a very
pleasing address. lyieutenant Webb Henderson of Jefferson, Iowa,
followed Dr. Fellows with a talk of the people and times gone by.
After the remarks of Mr. Henderson John Springer read the follow-
ing report of the necrological committee:
REPORT OF THE NECROIvOGICAL COMMITTEE.
The necrological list of the year 1 901-1902 is long and includes
many well known and dearly loved names; names of those who were
conspicuous and honored in this society from its foundation, who
were eligible as members upon its first organization, when a requisite
was citizenship or at least residence in the county before the year
1843. Think for a moment how few there be who could now claim
membership under such a limitation. These were of the chosen
Argonauts who crossed the great river and claimed their homes upon
the almost unknown prairies, while the infant state to be was yet in
its territorial swaddling clothes. How few remain of the old settlers
who were apart of that slender tide that came before 1840, who can
recall the incidents that surrounded the early settlement of what is
now the fairest portion of Iowa. How few yet remain who saw the
laying of the corner stone of the capital, a little more than sixty-two
years ago. vSome of those whose names follow in this long roll were
among the first builders of the city, but more were those whose
labors turned the prairies into fields and gardens. They hold indeed
the distinction of pioneers for it is by their favor that we succeed
them and this association is lengthened on with the years. It was
by their consent that the years required for eligibility of member-
ship were advanced, until now those who came as children when
they were gray-haired may participate in the pleasant associations
they first founded and may claim a heritage in their works.
In so long a list compiled from so many sources and in so short a
time, it is impossible to render to each the need of mention that we
would wish to give did time permit. And aside from brevity the
same causes have operated in even greater degree to the bringing
about of errors of omission and of commission. These are especially
likely to have occurred in dates, and though several have kindly
given assistance there is too much reason to fear that many yet re-
main for correction, before this paper shall be prepared for a place
in the archives of the society.
In this number there are a few names on which we have specially
dwelt for the reason that they were closely identified with the for-
mation and the subsequent growth of the Old Settlers' Association
of Johnson County. All these were members of the formal organ-
ization in 1866, when Samuel H. McCrory was elected as the first
president of the society. He was one of the signers of the first con-
stitution, as were Sylvanus Johnson and Samuel J. Hess, and Isaac
Sylvanus Johnson was, indeed, one of the builders of Iowa City.
He came here in 1839 in response to Governor I^ucas' call for vol-
unteers to engage in the "State I^ine War" then threatened with
Missouri, having enlisted a number of men in Jones county where
he had settled the preceding year. He arrived in Iowa City, pen-
niless and in debt for his dinner, to find that the war was over.
Those of you who were here in 1839 will recall that the city was
then very new. There was not a brick house in the coming capital,
and Mr. Johnson was a brick maker. In 1840 he opened the first
brick yard and on the 5th day of April of that year with his own
hands moulded the first brick for the store building erected on Iowa
Avenue just west of Dubuque street. From that day until the in-
firmities of age compelled his retirement from affairs he was one of
the best known of your citizens. From his brick yard came the
materials for the walls of the old Mechanics' Academy, store build-
ings, the inner walls of the old capitol building, the early churches
and school houses, and the adornment of brick chimneys for the
more ambitious of the pioneers who were dissatisfied with clay and
sticks. He has so recently passed away that he is yet fresh in the
memory of all the early settlers. His name will long be perpetuated
in his old home, for on the map of Iowa City the site of his pioneer
brick yard bears the name of "Johnson's Out lyOt." While his
health permitted, he delighted in these reunions of the pioneers and
to meet again those who had been his associates when Iowa City
was little more than a name and its future but a vision. As a pio-
neer and as a citizen he wrought a grandly noble and honorable
work and his manly record will for years to come do honor among
those of his compeers in the early settlement and development of
Elizabeth P. McCloud was born at Worthington, Ohio, January
ist, 1823. When a girl of seventeen she came to Iowa City, then on
the frontier of civilization, and in the springtime of the following
year became the wife of that sterling young pioneer Samuel H. Mc-
Crory. They met and overcame all the perils and privations that
were borne by the early settlers^ and beside their own cares they
aided in bearing those of others. For in all this part of Iowa there
was no more hospitable home than that of the McCrorys, and no
hands were more quickly extended in aid of charity, nor were any
hearts more tender in sympathy or in sharing the trials that belonged
to early life in the west. Mr. McCrory was a leader in the grow-
ing affairs of the city and of the state; he was the first and indeed
the only secretary of the Claim Association that secured to the pio-
neer the home of his choice, and the record that still remains, writ-
ten in the old log home, is the most valuable record that remains of
the first home building of the state. He was the first choice of the
county as a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1844, and
was a member of the state legislature while the capitol was yet
located at Iowa City. In all the affairs of life he found in his wife
a grand and willing helpmate, one whose counsel was clear and
whose spirit was strong. Her home was one where happiness dwelt
and made glad all who crossed its threshhold. She was an early
member of this association, and while her strength permitted was
constant in attendance upon its annual meetings, where she rejoiced
in again meeting those who had been her friends and companions
through more than half a century, who with her had seen the growth
and greatness of the chosen land.
In 1839 Wm. B. Snyder, coming from Ohio, made his home in
what is now Scott township, where his name is perpetuated in Sny-
der Creek. With him were two girls, who coming to Iowa together
filled out long and splendid lives, dying within a few months of
each other, and within but a short distance of where their lives had
been passed. One was his daughter, Margaret, who became the
wife of Samuel J. Hess; the other, his niece, Susan Williams, who
soon after coming was married to a strong young pioneer, Isaac
Bowen. Sixty-three years during which they lived almost in sight
of Iowa City has wrought a mighty transformation, and in this work
they had a great part. The wife and the mother is the builder of
the home in a great measure, and when you recall the pioneer women
whose names are on the list read here today, such names as Mrs.
Bowen, Mrs. Hess, Mrs. Lathrop, Mrs. McCrory, and others, you will
see that the work they wrought was one of honor and glory to the
state. Their names are held in honor and especially is that true
here on this occasion. You, who for half a century were their com-
panions and their friends, who shared with them the dangers and the
narrow circumstances of early years, who rejoiced with them in pros-
perity, shared their sorrow and lightened their grief when the death
angel stood at the door, and who today do honor to their noble lives,
can better estimate their worth than we who belong to another gen-
eration and hear but as a tale that is told the history of sixty years
ago. But we at least know that without these noble, loving, great-
hearted. Christian women, Iowa would not have been nor be to-day
what it is. Not all of their lives is history. Much of them is with
us, and their influence for good will yet abide for years and many
Mrs. Mary Welton Lathrop, when a bride of a month, came to
Iowa from her New York home in May, 1847. While her coming
was later than that of many of the pioneers, it is not to be thought
that there were then no trials, or that the state had taken on the
dignities that now mark it among the commonwealths. Iowa City
was yet new, and the young bride had her full share of toil and pri-
vation in the making of a home. Her husband was a man of many
resources, for he taught school, edited a newspaper, made his farm,
and bore a conspicuous part in the affairs of the new city. Yet to
one ideal he was ever constant and that was to his own home, and
there he found a love and devotion that made it the dearest place on
earth. Were the pioneers more attached to their homes than are
we ? The trials and the sufferings they endured to make them might
lead us to think such was the case. Mrs. Lathrop, like the other
women of the first settlement who have passed away during the year
now closed, was known to most of you, and while she had long
passed the allotted three score and ten years, her death comes as a
great sorrow to all hearts, for she and her husband had been so
actively and earnestly identified with the organization and progress of
this association that it seems almost as a parting with one who held
an honored place at each home circle. We know the merit of her
work was great and we bring the chaplet of memory's treasures to
Wm. Boettcher, Sharon township, 69 years; came about 1850.
Mrs. Jacob Zimmerman, I^incoln township, 65 years; came about
SkpTKmber, 1 901.
John Verba, Solon, 93 years; came in 1852.
Joseph S. lyodge, Iowa City, 78 years; came from Ohio in 1852.
Mrs. Annie Stach, Iowa City, 81 years; came from Germany
Bascom Mason, Penn township, 71 years; came from Pennsyl-
vania about 1868. He was a veteran of the war of the rebellion.
Patrick Holland, Oxford, 70 years; came about 1868.
Lewis Doty, Oxford, 76 years; came about 1852.
Mrs. Elizabeth Bell, Pleasant Valley, 86 years; came in 1856.
Henry Wachenfeldt, Iowa City, 50 years; came 1867.
Mrs. Barbara Stagg, Iowa City, 65 years; came in 1867.
W. H. Shipman, West Liberty, 76 years; was a long time resident
of Iowa City, leaving here some years ago.
Mrs. Anna Bbert, Iowa City, 74 years.
James McGuan, St. Louis, 37 years, born in Iowa City.
John W. Slemmons, Scott township; came in 1870.
Benjamin Beard, Scott township, 50 years; born in this county.
Mrs. Henry Lininger, Penn township, 35 years; born in the
James Havlik, Iowa City, 52 years; came about i860.
Joseph Lasheck, Iowa City; died in Denver, 35 years old.
Thos. Jordan, Iowa City, 33 years; born in the city.
Mrs. Margaret Huskins Devoe, Lone Tree, 72 years; came about
Mrs. E. C. Nichols, West Liberty; born in Iowa City.
Wm. G. Marshall, died at Glyndon, Minnesota.
Adam Kramer, Iowa City, about 75 years; retired U. S. army
Miss Mary E. lyyon, Solon, 86 years; came to Iowa about 1836,
and to the county in 1839; sister to Mrs. Eben Adams.
Miss lyizzie Williams, Tiffin, 60 years; came about 1852.
Mrs. Catharine Knierem, Iowa City, 71 years.
Mrs. J. C. lycasure, Iowa City, 47 years; born in Iowa.
Mrs. Margaret Rice, Iowa City.
Mrs. Henry W. Irathrop, Iowa City, 81 years; came from New
York in 1847.
Mrs. Mary Maher, Cedar township, 95 years came; to the county
in 1853; was its oldest resident at the time of her death.
Mrs. Mary K. Ingalls, Iowa City, 61 years; came about 1878.
Peter Jacobs, Sharon, 73 years; came about 1866; veteran soldier.
Mrs. Fred. Roegle, Scott township, 35 years; born in the county.
Wm. C. McConnell, Iowa City, 70 years; came in 1861; veteran
Harvey Ward, a former resident, died at Kansas City, aged 70
Wm. H. Stoner, Penn township, 54 years; came from Pennsyl-
vania in 1852.
Mrs. Samuel J. Hess, Iowa City, 70 years; came from Ohio in 1839.
Colonel John Pattee, former resident of the city, died at the Sol-
diers' Home, Brookings, S. D., aged 82 years. He had filled many
important positions in civil and in army life, and of state and
national prominence. Came to Iowa City in 1851. Served in 41st
Mrs. Margaret McCormick, 80 years; she died in Chicago, but was
a resident of this city from 1854 to 1871.
Matthew Truman Trotter, Greenfield, la., 58 years.
J. A. Smith, 58 years, died at Beatrice, Neb.; was a resident of
Iowa City from 1856 to 1879, and for many years engaged in busi-
During the year, date not known, T. C. Joslyn, many years a
resident and business man of this city, died at his home in Cali-
Samuel Green, Penn township, 55 years, born in this county.
Sylvanus Johnson, Iowa City, 87 years; came from Connecticut in
Orrin Andrews, Morse, 77 years; came from Pennsylvania in 1838.
Chas. Andrews, Morse, 40 years; born in the county; son of the
foregoing. Father and son both dying on the same day.
Mrs. Jacob Kramer, Iowa City, 62 years; she lived in the county
over fifty years.
Owen Cawley, Iowa City, 80 years; came from Ireland about i860.
Samuel Hanke, Iowa City, 81 years; came to the state from Ger-
many in 1855 and to this city in 1867.
Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Ricker, Scott township, 71 years; came to the
county in 1856.
Charles W. Hobart, former resident of Iowa City, died in Tacoma,
John Griffin, Hardin township, 63 years.
R. Grissell, Solon.
Mrs. S. H. Elliott, West lyucas, 77 years; came from Pennsyl-
vania in 1867.
Geo. W. lyewis, West Lucas, 88 years; came to the county in 1864.
Geo. W. Watson, Clear Creek, 82 years; came from Ohio in 1854.
John C. Wolz, Iowa City, 76 years; came in 1858.
Titus R. Fry, Iowa City, 91 years; came to county from Ohio in
Mrs. W. A. Cisne, Iowa City, 41 years; born in the county.
W. R. Ogle, Iowa City, 77 years; lived in the county about 40
Mrs. lyucina Stone, Iowa City; came from Ohio.
Mrs. Ellen Brierton, died in New York aged 70 years. She had
lived in this county about 40 years, removing only a short time be-
Mrs. Anna Freeman, Iowa City, 74 years; came to the city about
Mrs. Peter Klein, West Eucas, 41 years.
Mrs. Dennis Lynch, Iowa City, 81 years; came here about 1876.
Mrs. Anna Sibel, Iowa City, 49 years.
Rev. Francis Emerson Judd, at Portland, Ore., 75 years; and dur-
ing this month. Rev. Oscar Clute at Los Angeles, Cal., aged about
70 years. Rev. Judd had in former years been the rector of Trin-
ity church of this city, and afterwards was a missionary of the
church in many of the counties of the state, making his home mainly
in Marshalltown, but often visiting in this city, where he was
held in loving estimation by many of the pioneers. Rev. Clute
came to this city as minister of the Unitarian church in 1878 and
remained about six years. Both of these clergymen died at about
the same time far from the scene of their most active field of labor,
which was in this state.
Wm. Weekes, Washington township, 86 years; came from Eng-
land about 1852.
John U. Miller, Iowa City, 55 years; came in 1862; a veteran sol-
Dr. James Murphy, Iowa City, 39 years; born in the county.
Mrs. Henry Carson, West Lucas, 73 years.
Henry Mueller, Iowa City, 89 years; came in 1854.
Mrs. Elizabeth McCrory, 79 years; came from Ohio in 1840.
David Collins, Iowa City, 63 years; came to the county in 1859.
Mrs. Rose Purcell, Fremont township, 43 years; born in the
Mrs. Elizabeth Wood Kauffman, Iowa City, 73 years; came from
Dayton, Ohio, where she was born and lived five years after her
marriage to h. Kauffman; came to this city in 1854. Mr. Kauffman
died in 1891.
Mrs. Jacob Koenigheim, Iowa City, 82 years.
Dr. W. D. Middleton, Davenport, 58 years; came as professor in the
medical department of the University in 1867; a veteran of the war.
Mrs. Isabella Waldron, died at Whiting, 72 years; came about
Edward S. Lloyd, 42 years; born in the county; home at Remsen,
died while visiting at his old home.
Richard J. Lee, Iowa City, 35 years; came in 1877.
Otho C. Jewett, many years residen there; died at Deadwood, S. D.
John Tirkel, Solon, 74 years; came to county in 1857.
John P. Jones, Iowa City, 57 years; came to the county in 1869.
John W. Teefy, Iowa City, 90 years.
Joseph Maher, 42 years; died in Chicago.
Mrs. Margaret Marvin Hebard, 72 years; former resident of Iowa
City, died in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
William W. Tucker, Iowa City, 90 years.
Thomas Rees, Union township, 84 years.
Mrs. Julia Ann Hemsworth, 77 years; died in Chicago.
Michael Goss, Iowa City, 76 years; came in 1857.
John P. Orcutt, Iowa City, 74 years; came from Connecticut in
Joseph B. Dennison, Penn township, 87 years; came from Ohio in
1839. Mr. Dennison was the first settler of Penn township and
from his coming until his death had lived on the same farm. He
turned the first furrow in that large and fertile settlement now
known as "The Bend," and built the first cabin in the township.
Mrs. Salem Beard, Iowa City, 35 years; came from Tennessee
Mrs. Helen Caspar, Iowa City, 76 years.
John H. Cray, Fremont township, 62 years; came from New
Jersey in 1857.
George B. Cropley, Clear Creek township, 29 years; born in
J. F. Lawyer, Solon, 45 years.
Jacob Houck, Hardin township, 52 years.
Rice Thomas, Union township, 90 years.
Mrs. John Cusack, Hardin township.
Mrs. Daniel Sullivan, Iowa City, 81 years; came to the county in
Daniel Sullivan, Iowa City, 81 years; came to the county in 1853.
Mrs. Susan P. Bowen, Iowa City, 78 years; came from Ohio, 1839.
Mrs. Joseph Smith, died at Anadarko, O. T. A former resident
Mrs. Agnes Rabenau, Iowa City, 68 years; came from Germany
Joseph O'Brien, Oxford, aged 73 years.
Mrs. Louise Albrecht, Iowa City, aged 91 years; came in 1843
Mrs. Jacob Lininger, Penn township.
Peter Williams, Oxford township, 56 years; came from Ohio.
Mrs. F'annie Ransom, Iowa City, 93 years; came from New York
Mrs. vSarah Abrams, Iowa City, 79 years; came in 1866.
Adam H. Mueller, Iowa City, 67 years; came to Iowa City in
1855; veteran of the civil war.
Rev. F. H. Chamberlin, Iowa City, 34 years.
Mrs. Veronica Kotas, 74 years, died at Tipton; came here in 1861.
Adam Kneise, Scott township, 73 years; came to the county in
Henry S. Wei ton, died at I^ewiston, Ills., aged about 75 years.
His home was at Mt. Auburn, Iowa. He came to Iowa City in
1855 and for three years filled the professorship of ancient languages
in the State University. Upon retiring from this position he
engaged in business as a merchant and was quite successful. He
was a very capable and scholarly man and held in high esteem by
those who knew him. As a teacher, a merchant and a citizen he
filled a large place in the earlier history of the city.
Peter Hughes, Sharon township, 86 years; came to the county
in 1844, walking from Muscatine. After some years stay he
returned to Chicago, where he married and again came here to make
his permanent home in 1852.
Mrs. C. B. Cox, East lyucas, 73 years; came to the county in 1875.
' The committee read letters from absent ones as follows:
Sutherland, Iowa, August 19, 1902.
genti.emkn of the committee on invitations for johnson
County Old Settlers Reunion:
Dear Friends: — Your kind invitation to the reunion on the 2 2d
inst. is truly appreciated and nothing could give us at this time
greater pleasure than to be able to accept the invitation and meet
you face to face; but the way is not clear for us to do so and we
must smother our disappointment with the hope that another year
will find us able to meet the dear old friends of Johnson county at
their annual reunion.
It is forty-one years ago this month since we left Iowa City. Up
to that time Dr. Woods with his wife and ten children were all liv-
ing there. The time soon came however when they were widely
separated never to meet again on earth. Father Woods was the first
to pass away, dying at Camp Nelson, Ky., where he was stationed
as chaplain of the camp in 1864. Since then his wife, three sons.
and two daughters have followed him. Those still living are Lor-
inda Cones, of Council Bluffs, la.; Budora White, of Atlantic, la.;
Martha Sylvester, of Washington, D. C; Virginia Morgan, of New
York City; and William Houston, of this county, who as I write is
seated on a vine- wreathed veranda where many of the scores of people
who daily pass wave him a pleasant salute. It is thirty-three years
since we settled on the farm where we now live — truly pioneers
here. There were not more than fifty persons in the county when we
came. A fine town nestled beside us and for twenty years we have
had the advantage of both town and country. The latch string is
ever on the outside for the old settlers of Johnson county or their
children and a hearty welcome awaits any who will come. Wish-
ing you a delightful day and many returns of the same we are grate-
fully yours, Mr. and Mrs. Huse Woods.
Per Mrs. Woods.
DUI.UTH, Minn., Aug. 20, 1902.
A. E. Swisher, M. Cavanagh, Milton Remley,
Dear Sirs: I have to acknowledge receipt of your invitation to
attend the annual picnic of the old settlers of Johnson county. I
would like very much to be with you, but I am so closely occupied
that I cannot.
The acquaintances of long ago are closer than one realizes, except
when the sense of separation is awakened by some such touching
invitations as the one you were kind enough to extend me.
It is a quarter of a century since I left Iowa City, but its name
will always be a thrill of pleasant recollections to me.
I remember you all, and send kindest greetings.
C. B. King.
Sac City, Iowa, Aug. 18, 1902.
A. E. Swisher, Milton Remley and Others.
Iowa City, Iowa.
Gentlemen: I am in receipt of your kind invitation to attend
the old settlers picnic in Johnson county. Am very sorry that I
cannot attend this year, for it would afford me a great deal of pleas-
ure to meet with the old time friends and acquaintances and hope
to meet with you in the near future. I was in Johnson county a
few hours this summer, and was surprised and saddened to find that
so many of the pioneers had gone to their rest.
J. W. Scott.
Muscatine, Iowa, Aug. i6, 1902.
A. E. Swisher, Esq.,
Iowa City, Iowa.
Dear Sir: Your kind favor of the 14th inst. to hand, extend-
ing an invitation to the annual picnic of the old settlers of Johnson
I should like to attend the festivities and meet old friends again,
but owing to the fact that I have been confined to the house for
several weeks past with sickness, and have not as yet fully recovered,
it will be impossible for me to be with you.
With kind regards to all inquiring, and thanking you for the
invitation, I remain, respectfully yours,
Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 20, 1902.
A. E. Swisher,
Iowa City, Iowa.
Dear Sir: Your invitation to my brothers and myself to
attend the meeting of the old settlers of Johnson county came duly
to hand. It will be impossible for any of us to get away at this
We thank you very much for the invitation, and sincerely trust
that you will have a royal good time.
W. O. FiNKBINE.
Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 23, 1902.
Mr. a. E. Swisher, et al.,
Committee Oi.d Settlers, Johnson County.
Gentlemen: Please accept my thanks for the courtesy of an
invitation to attend the meeting of the old settlers of Johnson
county, Iowa, on the 21st instant. Unfortunately I did not
receive it in time to adjust my business so as to attend, but I assure
you that I appreciate the courtesy.
Very truly yours,
James G. Berryhill.
Lawrence, Kan., Aug. 21, 1902.
Mr. a. E. Swisher,
Iowa City, Iowa.
Dear Friend: For some reason your favor of the 14th did not
reach me for several days after it was mailed. For years it has
been my desire to visit my old home. The press of business with
a little politics as a side issue, to say nothing of public office, and
other cares have prevented. Kindly think of me next year a little
earlier thus giving me notice in time, and I will make special effort
to meet with the old settlers.
Kindly remember me to Mr. Cavanagh, Mr. Remley and other
friends. With best wishes, Yours truly,
J. D. BOWERSOCK.
After the reading of the letters and reports a business meeting
was held. The report of Henry Wieneke was read showing the
amount received during the year past to be $51.57 and the amount
disbursed I50.19 and a balance on hand of $1.40. The report of the
treasurer was approved and ordered spread upon the record.
W. H. Buchanan of Solon, was elected president for the coming
year and Isaac Weber, of Sharon, vice-president; A. E. Swisher, of
Iowa City, 2nd vice-presiaent; L. W. Miller of Pleasant Valley, 3d
vice-president; G. R. Irish of Bast I^ucas, secretary, and Henry J.
Mr. Springer improved the opportunity of taking a picture of the
old cabins surrounded by a number of Johnson county pioneers.
One of the features of the sumptuous dinner was the coffee prepared
by Mrs. Metzger, who proved to the satisfaction of all present that
the art of making coffee is not confined to Kd. Sheppard or Frank
Luce. The beverage of her production has never been excelled and
Another item of comment was a sign, a half century old, of Dr.
W. Reynolds. This was obtained from Chas. Weber and placed on
the log cabin where it was viewed with interest by old timers.
The following is a list of old settlers present: J. E. Adams, L. A.
Allen, J. h. Adams, Geo. T. Borland, Geo. W. Bale, Thomas Bru-
baker, Martin J. Burge, Alonzo E. Brown, Anthony Beuter, W. H.
Buchanan, Edward Balluff, Dr. A.J. Burge, John Brady, Chas. Baker,
Eugene A. Ballard, Stephen Bradley, Calvin Curtis, C. E. Clifford,
J. N. Clark, W. D. Cannon, Sr., Thomas C. Carson, A. N. Cur-
rier, Samuel Calvin, Matthew Cavanagh, Earl Custer, David M.
Dixon, Lorimer Douglas, Byron Dalton, Nicholas Dalscheidt, T. D.
Davis, George A. Deal, Byron Dennis, John Eggenberger, Rev.
Stephen N. Fellows, Charles Francis, Sam. P. Fry, Mrs. Sam. P.
Fry, S. H. Fairall, John Ckeulich, Ralph P. Howell, David H. Hast-
ings, Lemuel Hunter, Frederic W. Hemsted, Oliver C. Hill, Mrs.
Teresa Hohenschuh, George Hunter, Sion Hill, W. J. Huff and
wife, Ramsey Hevern, Samuel J. Hess, John R. Hughes, Virgil
Hartsock, A. R. Hedges, Hezekiah Hamilton, August Hasselhorst,
D. W. Henderson, G. R. Irish, David W. Jones, Stephen Jacob, John
E. Jayne, R. A. Kean, M. Kessler, J. Kramer, G. W. Koontz, W.
A. Kettlewell and v/ife, Mrs. Kirkpatrick, C. A. I^ucas, Garret lyan-
caster, J. J. I^ee, BUen Langenberg, I^ewis A. I^angenberg, J. J.
Metzger, J. J. McKray, C. G. Moore, Bruce Moore, Inez G. Moore,
U W. Miller, Geo. McGruder, John j. Miller, Thos. Metcalf, Al-
bert Miller, Mary Miller, Phillip Miller, J. G. Marner, W. H.
Miller, J. W. Morford, John McCoUister, Benj. Owen, Frank A.
Parrott, James Poland, Chas. Pratt, Geo. W. Pinney, James T.
Robinson, Jacob Roessler, B. M. Robertson, Jacob Ricker, D.
A. Reese, F. X. Pattenmeyer and wife, Leroy Rundel, Mrs. C.
M. Riley, A. A. Roessler, C. F. Robinson, Mrs. E. A. Hunter,
Wm. T. Sweet, Abraham Swisher, Zachariah Smith and wife,
Geo. W. Swords, F. A. Stratton, J. Y. Stover, C. H. Stable,
Anthony Stable, P. J. Stable, J. E. Switzer, J. F. Shepherd, Jno.
Springer, Fred Schneider, David Stewart, Christian Senner, John
Stevens, Frank Stackman, J. W. Schell, Jno. C. Shrader, Jno. A.
Stevenson, George Sclilenck, Miss Hannah Ten Eyck, Hiram Toms,
J. Peter Von Stine, J. P. Von Stine, Jr., Henry J. Wieneke, Henry
Walker and wife, Sarah Wilson, Emory Westcott, Isaac S. Weber,
Edna B. Wilson, Joseph Walker, James S. Wilson, Naomi Work-
man, Finette Schley.
The following and many others, although not registered, were also
on the grounds: J. K. Strawbridge, Mrs. Peter Dalton, Mr. and
Mrs. A. Richardson, Mrs. C. W. Irish, Mrs. G. R. Irish, Miss Eliza-
beth Irish, Miss J. T. Irish, Mrs. H.H. Kerr, Julius Hill and wife, Jane
Hill, Mrs. H. D. Summer, Mrs. F. A. Stratton, Lester McKray, Mrs.
Jas. McKray, Mrs. E. F. Rate, Miss Lucy Hemsted, Miss Annie
Hope, Mr. and Mrs. E. Hope, Mrs. Alonzo Brown. Mrs. Emory
Westcott, Misses Jane and Emor Westcott, Miss Mary Von Stine, Miss
Ella M. Borts, Mrs. C. W. Borts, Mrs. H. J. Wieneke, Mrs. A. W.
Bradley, Mrs. Frank Parrott, Misses A. and E. Wilson, Mrs. H. H.
Abrams and daughter, Wm. Andrews, Miss Nettie Hill, Mrs. Olive
Jackson, Edwin Hill and daughter, Mrs. Green Hill, L. P. Kessler,
Mrs. John Springer, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Springer, Charles Shel-
lady and wife, Mrs. Goody, Thomas Cox, Robert Simpson, Mrs. C.
Senner, Mrs. S. A. Sunier, F. Albright, Miss Josephine Eicher, Miss
Kate Hohenschuh, Mrs. M. Leonard, Mrs. Geo. Wright, Mrs. Jno.
Ellson, Mrs. A. T. Calkins, Mrs. B. Swafford, Mr. and Mrs. Hatch,
Mrs. R. A. Kean, Mrs. Nancy Stevenson, Mrs. Geo. W. Koontz,
Mrs. E. A. Ballard, Mrs. Hortense Stillings, Miss Eydia McKray,
Mrs. R. P. Howell, Mr. Warren, Wm. Pratt, wife and daughter,
Sam. C. Jones, Mrs. D. H. Hastings, Mrs. J. Y. Stover, Mrs. Fanny
I find the two following papers in the papers belonging to the
association, they are worthy of a place in our publications. Mr.
Hyde died in Davenport, May 15, 1899, and Mrs. Hyde died there
Dec. 5, 1900.
HOW THE FIRST FARMERS IvABORED.
There are many former residents of Scott county residing in
Johnson county, some of whom were early settlers of the first
named, and there is probably not one of them who does not know
Andrew J. Hyde and his estimable wife personally or by reputation.
After more than fifty years residence on their Pleasant Valley farm,
Mr. and Mrs. Hyde, among the earliest and most highly respected
of Scott coonty's pioneers, removed to Davenport, in which city
they will undoubtedly reside until the final summons shall reach
The subjoined from the Davenport Democrat, will be found to
possess much interest to the old settlers of Johnson county, whose
memories of pioneer days correspond to a large extent with those
here furnished, and to their children as well.
"Yes," said Andrew J. Hyde, the Scott county pioneer, "I have
seen dry summers in Iowa before, but I never saw a drought that
was on in full force as early in the summer as this one is."
Mr. Hyde was sitting on the porch of his pleasant residence on
Arlington Avenue as he spoke. He came to it from his farm in
Pleasant Valley something less than a year ago, determined to
spend his declining days in comfort in the city. After so many
years in the country, town life has hardly fitted itself to him at all
points as yet, but he is getting used to it, and at the same time
improving in health. He has been almost an invalid for some time
and many another man not blest with his cheerful disposition and
his unchanging determination to look on the bright side of things,
would have been flat on his back a good deal of the time. It is Mr.
Hyde's belief that a good laugh comes nearer being a panacea than
any remedy in all the pharmacopeia.
"I don't know why we should have had these several years of
drought in succession," said Mr. Hyde, "but I know what I think
about it. I think we have contributed to this condition by over-
draining with tile."
"When I came here in 1836 the land was new. It had never
been touched, and had never grown any crop but the prairie grass,
the hazel brush, and the forest. It was said then by all of us who
had come from the east, where the land was under pretty thorough
cultivation and where it had been cultivated for many years, that
this soil had a wonderful capacity for standing drouth. We had
dry seasons then. They opened out on us later in the year, but
they gave us a good chance to test the laud in this way. Since then
the ground here has been altered. Continual cropping, and much
of it with no effort to restore the fertility which has been taken off
the land and hauled to market in sacks has sapped the vitality
off the soil. It does not have the ability to resist drouth as it once
"This much for that ground that lies high, and that has never
been drained, or in need of it. As for the sloughs and hollows and
damp spots, all over Iowa, eastern and central Iowa especially, we
have got rid of them. They used to grow a big crop of high rank
slough grass. Its roots matted together and held water like a sponge.
One of these sloughs would hold water in soak through a long dry
spell. It would drain out slowly, forming a little stream through a
long dry season; watering the stock along a little valley and helping
to keep the creeks and rivers running. It also helped to form clouds
by furnishing water for evaporation, and we had more in those
days. We had all our farms so fixed in these days that the rain run
off them in a very short time, and they are left as dry as ever.
They don't hold the moisture as they used to do. I regarded
those sloughs of former days as valuable features of our farming
land, and I now think, more than ever, that we made a mistake
when we went to work and drained them all. Some of them might
have been profitably drained, perhaps, but to get rid of them all
was not a good policy. It is a hard matter now to find a farm that
has a slough on it, at least on our uplands. There were plenty of
them forty years ago, and I think we had a better soil and climate
then because of them."
Mr. Hyde recalled a number of climatic phenomena of the past
half century in this part of the country. Adverting to the famous
"cold winter" of 1842, mentioned in a recent interview in this paper
with his old friend Adam Donaldson, he told of the stress of weather
the settlers suffered that year. It has been a meteorological land-
mark for them, a sort of low temperature gauge by which they have
compared all their seasons since.
That fall of 1842, Mr. Hyde says, was one of the finest he ever
saw. Looking back at it now through the haze of over half a cen-
tury, he is sure he never saw such autumn weather as it gave this
part of the country. The days were perfect dreams of delight, and
each one of them for weeks together seemed the peer of the days that
had preceded it.
But on the 9th day of November, rather an early date now for
winter to begin, a rain commenced. It rained a day or so, and then
the wind shifted to the southwest and snow began to fall, and with
it came wind and tempest, and this delightful state of affairs con-
tinued for about ten days without interruption. The wind-up of it
was a spell of bitter cold that old settlers recall now with a shudder.
There was much of suffering among them, and their live stock had
much to do to keep alive, for most farmers then were very poorly
provided with shelter for their animals, and some had barely any at
The John Shaw, a big steamer for these waters in those early
days, had come up the river, and in the low water that resulted
from the long dry autumn, it got hard aground near the mouth of
Duck creek. Two young men were left on it to watch and care for
it till it could be floated off by a rise. One of them was Levi
Chamberlain, father of Attorney Wm. M. Chamberlain of this city
today. The John Shaw was still on the rocks when the blizzard
caught her, and she staid there through it. Ice made rapidly, and
she was soon in the grip of the river, hard and fast. The cold
became so intense that these two watchers aboard of her used up all
their fuel in a vain effort to maintain comfortable temperature, and
when it was gone they found themselves forced to turn to and burn
the steamer. That is they removed such portion of her woodwork
as were least essential and fired them into the stove, until the ice
had grown solid enough to let them get off. It took a lot of fuel to
fight the cold out of the thinly-partitioned apartments of the boat
in that awful wind, and a large amount of carpenter work was
needed on her next spring.
The corn in those days grew like a small forest. Mr. Hyde well
recalls the unusual height it reached that year, and how a short man
might almost need a ladder to reach the ears, according to the tall
stories told to doubting friends back east. The snowfall was so
heavy, however, that the fields were level with it at about the height
of the ears, and the prairie chickens, which were about as thick in
the country then as English sparrows are in town now, could walk
over the crust in fields and eat corn at their own sweet will. It was
all so unexpected that no corn had been gathered, and when the big
storm was over the farmers found their hogs and other animals almost
without provision, and the corn crop in the embrace of the winter
in such a way that it seemed almost impossible to unlock it. It was
impossible to drive a team into a corn field in such snow, and the
corn was gathered only by driving up along a field where the snow
was shallow enough to permit it, unhitching the horse, and then
wading about in the snow shoulder-deep, dragging a bag, and slowly
and painfully filling it with corn, wading back to the sled to dump
it when a bagful had been gathered in this fashion. It was a kind
of corn husking that this state has probably seen nothing of since.
In January came a thaw, as related by Mr. Donaldson, and it took
ofE the snow, laid bare the ground which was hardly more than
frozen under all that white blanket, and killed the beautiful green
winter wheat dead.
Mr. Hyde regards his crop of spring wheat, grown in 1837, as the
first grown in this county. Thirty bushels and more of this grain
was not an uncommon yield to the acre in those days, and Mr. Hyde
recalls fall wheat that ran 50 bushels to the acre. Those days are
now long past. A fifth of that yield on many fields would be a fair
crop now, if any effort were made to raise wheat here at all.
The farmer of this day knows nothing whatever of the hard work
the early farmer here had to do to put in, cultivate and save a crop.
"In those days," said Mr. Hyde, "we made our own plows. We
got the share and landside at the blacksmith's, and we made the
rest of it ourselves. A white-oak tree with the right crook in it was
hewn and shaved out to form the mouldboard, and the share and
landside were bolted to it. A sapling made the beam, and the limbs
or saplings of the right crook were smoothed out to make the handles.
I broke a beam out one time by running afoul a redroot, which was
one of the toughest things we encountered in our fields then. I left
the team standing, went right into the woods near at hand, and cut
a sapling of the right length and size, and put it into place right
there, and went on plowing, and all with no great loss of time. I
wonder if there is a farmer in the county now who would not be
broken up for the day if he snapped a beam in that way!" Probably
there is not.
Mr. Hyde recalls the first really good plow in this part of the
country. It came from the shop where John Deere worked at
Grand Detour. It was first class in every way, an honest piece of
work and satisfactory to its owner. "It was this honest workman-
ship that made John Deere's fortune," said Mr. Hyde. "It soon
became known all through here that a John Deere plow was one
that could be depended on. By 1846 quite a good many of them
were in use here. Other good plows were brought here in the mean-
time from Cincinnati and sold well, but they were made during but
a few years. The great trouble with the plows in those days was
was that in some soil they would not scour. The dirt would stick
to the mouldboard and they would make a mark in the dirt that
looked as though a log instead of a plow had been hauled through
it. A plow that would scour anywhere would have a reputation
over a whole neighborhood, and every man in that part of the
county would be after it to borrow it. It would never have an idle
"And yet," said Mrs. Hyde, who sat placidly at her husband's
side, aiding his memory and recalling things that happened and
existed in the old days as he talked, "we were just as happy then
as we are now. The people who settled here were not uneducated,
shiftless, poor stock, and they did not come here as a last resort
because they had no other place to go, and no relatives to keep
them. Many of them were of the best families of the eastern states.
Many of them were as well reared, as well educated and as cultured
as any of their friends to be found in homes of refinement in the
east. It was no uncommon thing for us to be able to give our
eastern visitors genuine surprises when they chanced to drop in on
us to see how we lived out here on the border. We showed them
that it was as possible to entertain in a manner truly refined and
elegant in a log cabin as it was in a residence. We had our plain,
simple pleasures, enough for our wants, our freedom from petty cares
and most of us had good health. We did not live then in an atmos-
phere of artificial wants and needs, but our wants were more nearly
genuine, and they were really easier supplied, for most of us had
the means at hand to do it. We enjoyed ourselves in those old
days — but what is the use of me telling you all this ? You have
heard this thing said by every old settler in the country."
Mr. and Mrs. Hyde cordially agree that it is full time that some
person with the time and the intelligence needful for the work set
himself to the gathering of the reminiscences of the lingering
pioneers, together with their pictures, and photographs of the early
homes and school houses and churches of the county. Not many
years of this opportunity remain. There are not many pairs of eyes
in this county now that looked on the real beginning of things
here. This is an opening for the person who has time and no use
to make of it.
OI.D SETTI.ERS ONCE MORE.
Poem Read by Abel Beach at the Annual Reunion,
August i, 1894.
As we view the depths of ocean, casting waves upon the shore.
Bearing shells with jeweled fleeces — like the Argonauts of yore.
First we look around and wonder if along these sands of time.
Foot prints still are found, or echoes of some lingering golden chime.
Yea, to left and right I recognize, before me, pioneers,
Worthy patriarchs — aye, prophets, of the long remembered years.
When the chosen land they honored well rejoiced to see their day
By their efforts grand and glowing in the sunset parting ray.
Changed somewhat in form and features, halting step or falling sight;
But distinguished for achievements won — all brighter brought to
Representing generations past, whose shadows kiss the sky.
Welcome once again; remember in your footsteps we are nigh !
Lo, beyond yon hazy background and dissimulating ridge.
With converging lines of life, I view a narrow, open bridge.
Hosts unnumbered scurry onward, passing thro' the yawning gate,
One by one with hurry, hasting, to resolve a final fate.
Serried ranks are widely scattered in grim cemeteries 'round,
Foremost pioneers and soldiers, side by side, at length have found
Final rest from toil and struggles in our Mother Earth of peace.
Where, in sacred soil of heroes, all their worldly labors cease.
Mythologic story tells us that from Dragon's teeth there sprung
Valiant men whose glory growing ever afterwards was sung;
So we trust, full-panoplied, the sons of heroes will arise.
Elevating men to spheres appropriate for earth or skies.
In the flowery field of romance dreams are realized in song.
Made elysian as some fairy nymphs the silken threads prolong
Half of life is seldom real; wild the wing of fancy sweeps,
lyike a magic spell appropriate to us, but seldom keeps.
Who can say imagination, when allowed to wander free,
Shall not find enchanted islands, bright as ever bathed by sea?
Fairy scenes, wits elfin actors, luming night as bright as day,
Sounding 'round the welkin echoes — borne on wings of wind away.
Come with me the while we're waiting; climb the summit of this
Panoramic views reward enraptured visions at their will;
Dimly gleams the vista of the past, now vanishing away.
Brimming beams the bliss that ushers in a new and brighter day.
While some painted recollections mark the ever hallowed past,
Greater acquisitions in majestic garb are seen at last, —
Lightning, steam and latent powers, at length developed long con-
Day by day made patent plain, disclose their mystery — revealed.
What has been and more, the grasping future claims again can be;
Ceaseless progress on progression marks our nineteenth century;
And when all the ages, summoned, give concluding resume.
Rare historic pages, hardly paralleled, will mark our day.
Open now the swinging portals of new centuries in view.
Recognize the vast advancement — old retiring from the new.
Better homes and health and harvests, safer railroads, brighter lights,
Greater comforts, wealth, prosperity, that everywhere invites.
Nature, generous when favored, holds abundance in reserve;
Sometimes free to scatter seeds and sometimes careful to conserve;
Making marked improvements, scientifiic progress, constant gain:
Favoring new improvements having worthy objects to attain.
May we not believe, too, when the scales are taken from our eyes.
Men redeemed from sordid senses, can behold their brothers rise?
Made fraternal, sound the praises of an age that's disenthralled —
Make good will abound on earth, as well as found in heaven installed?
Now, Old vSettlers, when Time's summons comes — as soon it must
IvCt us prove as brave as any e'er responding to his call;
Not ashamed to stamp our impression on age we helped to build.
Proud of chance to vamp the fashion where high destiny is filled.
Listen! hear the echoes sounding from the valleys, plains and peaks!
Fainter dying in the distance, one and then another speaks;
Forty, fifty years or over tell of generations past,
And the strongest hears announcement, "soon you, too, will be 'the
Since the annual meeting, death has touched with his icey hand
many of the older members of the organization. Of the number,
Mrs. James Cavanagh and Mrs. David J. Wilson, by reason of the
great age to which they had attained their long residence in the
county, their social qualities and the grandeur of their lives are
deemed worthy of special mention here.
Sarah Garvin was born December i8, 1811, in Rockbridge county
Virginia, her parents having died in her infancy, she was taken by
her uncle and aunt to Ohio and there grew to womanhood. In 1834
she was married to David J. Wilson, in Delaware county, that state,
and with him came to Johnson county in 1840, making their home
at Carthage, in Scott township, where they lived and wrought for
nearly fifty years. Having gained a competency they disposed of
their farm and removed to Iowa City, where they passed in peaceful
enjoyment their later years.
To them were born six daughters and three sons. Of the daughters
Estaleva and Anna remained at home with their grand old father
and mother. Mr. Wilson died in February, 1901. In early life
Mrs. Wilson became a member of the Methodist church, in later
years becoming convinced of the truth as taught by the Seventh Day
Adventists she joined that denomination and died in that faith.
With a warm-hearted friendship for all, and unswerving devotion to
her family and home and a firm reliance that the righteous shall
enter into their reward Mrs. Wilson lived. After a brief illness in
the full use of her faculties her eyes closed upon the scenes of earth
to reopen in the new Jerusalem. She died August 28, 1902, aged
90 years, 8 months and 12 days.
Amy Kinney Townsend was born May 6th, 1806, near Toronto,
Canada, and when nine years old removed with her father's family
to Sandusky, Ohio. From Ohio they removed about 1825 south-
western Michigan. She was married April nth, 1830, to James
Cavanagh, and in 1839 Mr. and Mrs. Cavanagh and a family of five
boys came to Iowa and settled on a farm near the Cedar river, five
miles east of Solon in Johnson county. Here three more boys were
born to them. They lived there until 1858 when they sold the
farm and came to Iowa City, and acquired the homestead where she
has since resided. In 1880 her husband, Judge James Cavanagh,
died, since which time she has lived alone with her son Abram,
who has been her constant companion, has waited upon her and
nursed her through the many years of her helplessness with a filial
devotion unsurpassed except by her own maternal devotion, that
knew no limit through all the years of the rearing of her eight boys.
Of this family of eight sons only Matthew and ^ Abram T. survive
There being no girls in the family, and living amid the hardships
and privations of pioneer life, where female help was almost impos-
sible to get, it can be readily understood what Mrs. Cavanagh's work
must have been, particularly when it is understood that she was one
of the best and neatest housekeepers of these pioneer days.
Mr. and Mrs. Cavanagh united with the Methodist Episcopal
church when they lived on the farm, that being the only church in
the neighborhood, and for years their home was a favorite stopping
place for the ministers of that denomination, after one of whom one
of their boys was named.
After coming to Iowa City they united with the Presbyterian
church, mainly for the reasons that Mr. Cavanagh had been trained
in that church, and Mrs. Cavanagh had been reared in the Quaker
Such is a brief outline of this remarkable life, which has spanned
nearly a century, she having lived to the advanced age of ninety-
six years, four months and ten days. She was one of that noble
band of pioneers, only a few of whom remain, who endured the
hardships that are unknown today, and laid the foundations of the
great state of Iowa.
Mrs. Cavanagh was a woman of most decided character, and
among her chief characteristics were a devotion to principle that
knew no compromise, a steadfastness of friendship for every one
that knew no abatement, a faith in the bible and in Jesus Christ, he
Savior, that knew no misgiving, and an optimism that was ever
On last Tuesday afternoon, Sept. i6, 1902, without disease and
without pain, and while sitting in her chair, she quietly passed
away in the abiding hope and faith of meeting her loved ones who
had gone before, in a state of blissful immortality.
The funeral services were conducted at her late home, 803 Reno
street, Iowa City, the Rev. Dr. Fellows of the Methodist Episcopal
church, and the Rev. Mr. Wylie of the Presbyterian church, officiat-
RKMINISCENCBS OF ST. MARY'S CHURCH BY REV.
Having been ordained priest by the saintly Mathias Loras, the
first bishop of Dubuque, on the 19th day of December, 1852, with
Rev. Williams Emonds, we said our first masses, he at old St. Mary's,
Dubuque, I being his only assistant. I said mass at the old Cathe-
dral, having Rev. Emonds for an assistant. In those days the
young priest had no solemn high mass, no sumptuous dinner, nor
the accessories of the newly ordained priests of the twentieth cen-
tury. After our first mass at Dubuque and attending vespers we
had to walk back to Mt. St. Bernard's, the little seminary of the
Dubuque diocese, with the beautiful snow knee-deep, the distance
of six miles, all uphill, a prelude to our future missionary life of
fifty years almost to date. If Rev. Emonds and the writer live we
will celebrate our golden jubilee December 19, 1902. We remained
at Mt. St. Bernard's until the eve of New Year, 1853, when the
saintly Loras gave us our faculties and appointments; Emonds to be
pastor at old St. Mary's, Dubuque, I to assist the Rev. I. P. McCor-
mack at the old St. Mary's church, Iowa City.
During the first week of January, 1853, I arrived at Iowa City,
and was gladly received by Father McCormack; who was in poor
health and unable to attend the many calls of the Catholics of the
city, Johnson, I^inn, Cedar, Washington, Iowa, Poweshiek, Benton
and all counties west to the Missouri river and north to the Minne-
sota line. There was a priest at Fort Des Moines for some time,
but not then; a Father Plath, a worthy and pious and noble German
priest, who is long since at rest and now enjoying the rewards of
his sacrifices and labors with our good Father in heaven.
In February, 1853, ^^v. McCormack, with permission of the
bishop, went to Ireland for his health, and on his return to Dubuque,
September, 1853, was appointed pastor of the new St. Patrick's
church and consequently never returned to Iowa City. Rev. McCor-
mack was a cultured gentleman, a grand preacher of the word, kind
and charitable to the poor, and much beloved by the entire diocese
of Dubuque and particularly by the Catholics of Iowa City and sur-
rounding missions. The Rev. McCormack took charge of the mis-
sions in and around Iowa City some time in the year 1849.
was born in the County Carvan, near I^oughsheelin, Ireland, and
there made his classical studies.
The pastor of Iowa City prior to Rev. McCormack was the Rev.
P. F. Poiette, who had charge from 1847 advent of Rev.
McCormack; died in New Orleans in the odor of sanctity some
twenty yearsr ago, having been pastor of St. Joseph's church for
twenty years. The Rev. Poiette was one of the band of noble French
missionaries who came with Bishop I^oras to the Northwest Terri-
tory, which now includes Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and
the Dakotas; and who helped to plant the cross on every promon-
tory from the Gulf of Mexico to the Falls of St. Anthony. Future
generations will do honor to their memories.
Prior to Rev. Poiette the church of Iowa City was visited by
Bishop Loras, Father Cretian, who became first bishop of St. Paul,
Father Pelamorgues, the second bishop-elect of St. Paul, who was
the apostle of Davenport and adjacent territory, and who refused the
bulls making him second bishop of St. Paul. Father Perdin, who
was located at Garryowen, Jackson county, frequently visited the
city and administered to the spiritual wants of the few Catholics
prior to 1846.
I must not forget to mention the first great missionary of the
northwest, who broke the bread of life to the : first Catholics of
Dubuque and vicinity, the venerable and saintly Father Mazzu-
chelle, who came there in 1837. He gave the plans of the old state
house in Iowa City and said mass there frequently from 1841 to
He was the founder of the Dominican Sisters, whose mother house
is at vSinsinawa Mound, Wis., and who are at the head of the grand-
est institution of learning in America, the mother prioress being
Sister Emily, of the family name of Powers.
This is as near and as correct a history of St. Mary's church prior
to my pastorate as can be written.
I came to Iowa City January 5, 1853, and after February of that
same year had charge of Iowa City and all missions. There being
no parochial house, I boarded with a Mrs. Myers, who kept a hotel
directly south of the old state house, for six months and the bishop
had to pay my board. Mrs. Myers left and I was kindly taken care
of by that good and Christian lady, Mrs. P. P. Freeman, whose
kindness I remember to this day and will to the last day of my life.
Dr. Wm. Vogt and his amiable wife took care of my bodily wants
for some time, until the house was built and furnished, which was
some time about September, 1854.
The missions and stations I attended during my pastorate, monthly,
or I may say, occasionally, are: Old Man's Creek, now Holbrook;
St. Michael's church, a little frame church built of boards whip-
sawed in the wood. I said mass within before the floor was laid;
had the beautiful snow for a carpet, a pine box for an altar; in fact,
a place as forlorn as the stable wherein the Savior was born. There
were no more than fourteen families all told. English River (the
Schnoebelen settlement) had a little frame church, St. Sanislaus',
built and paid for by Mr. Schnoebelen, on forty acres of land given
by him. Many a time I rode out there, sixteen miles, on horseback,
with a saddlebag dangling behind, after saying first mass in the city,
and would not get breakfast until 3 o'clock p. m. A more hospi-
table man than Schnoebelen never lived. May God rest him. Rich-
mond, St. Emmanuel, Washington county, was visited by me once,
accompanied by Bishop Eoras, who said the first mass in a private
house, in the month of October, 1854. Solon, twelve miles from
the city, where four Catholic families lived, was visited occasion-
ally. In 1853-54 I said mass in Cedar Rapids. There were only
four Catholic families in the city and vicinity. In the same year I
said mass in Marion, where there were only two Catholic families.
I was the first priest to say mass in those places, and frequently
attended sick calls in Des Moines, Fort Dodge and Marengo, and as
far south as Mount Pleasant. In the whole territory that I visited
there were not more than eighty families.
The old St. Mary's had a basement divided into three apartments
the entire south half being used for a school, a hall running from the
east to the west side. At the north there were two divisions, one of
which was not finished in my time; the other I occupied as a study
and bed room, where I slept for more than eighteen months, the
good saintly Mrs. Doran, mother of Mrs. P. P. Freeman, making
my bed, which was indeed a poor one, occasionally for the love of
During my pastorate the school was conducted first by Miss Ellen
McCaddon; second, by Alexander Hill, a convert who I understand
back-slided; third, by the good and saintly Martin Doran, a brother
of Mrs. P. P. Freeman, all of whom I even to this day hold in the
greatest and fondest recollection. And may God have mercy on
The history of the bell, and indeed it is a very curious one, is
long since lost in oblivion after so many long years. That's away
in September, 1854. The good Bishop lyoras was on one of his
pastoral visits and was my guest for two weeks, looking after the
spiritual and temporal wants of the Catholic people in the city
and surrounding territory. I shall never forget that great, good
and saintly man, the father and founder of the Catholic church in
Iowa. I think if there was a saintly man on earth, and of that I
have no doubt, he was one. As the bishop and myself were living
in the house a teamster by the name of Gubbins, who lived in the
city and hauled merchandise from and to Muscatine, as all things
came in that way — we had no railroad — drove up to the church
with the bell you ask about. The direction on the waybill was
"St. Mary's Church, Iowa City, Iowa." As I had not ordered the
bell and had no knowledge of its coming, we were completely taken
by surprise. The bishop and people were very enthusiastic, and
concluded some good Catholic had sent the bell as a present or as an
ex-voto offering to the church. The freight bill from St. I^ouis to
Iowa City, including the bill of Gubbins, amounted to $iS. A col-
lection was taken up and freight paid. A day or two after the
arrival of the bell a German by name of Hanert, a stranger to me
and almost unknown in the city, came to the bishop and told him
he ordered the bell and gave it to the church. The good bishop,
with much ceremony, consecrated it, and gave it the name of St.
Mary of the Assumption. Carpenters were employed, a bell tower
twenty feet high erected, and a general jubilee followed, with many
praises for the generous donor, Mr. Hanert. Now comes the sur-
prise. vSix months after the consecration of the bell I received a
letter from the bell makers in St. I^ouis informing me that the bell
was sent by mistake to our town, but cast for Sacek City, Wiscon-
sin; and belonged to the Catholics of that city.
Now what to do under these difficulties was the question. The
bell was erected, consecrated and freight paid. The people of the
congregation offered many prayers for the man Hanert, but not
good ones. Hanert disappeared soon after and made himself very
scarce, and I never saw him after.
The year 1855, before I left for Burlington, where the bishop
changed me to, I made a collection and under many difficulties col-
lected as much as paid for the bell, which still, I hope, holds me in
Now with regard to the house which was built in 1854 in the
north part of the lots near the alley. Four hundred dollars left by an
old Irish bachelor, by name of Conley,helped to build the house. The
money was left to Michael Freeman as executor in trust for that pur-
pose. How much more was left I don't know, but I had much
difficulty in collecting the balance, which was about $700, from a few
poor people. The total cost of the house, furnishing and building,
with materials, was about $1,100.
I left Iowa City the last of August, 1855, Rev. M. Mitchel,
succeeding me, and I left without having as much money as would
pay my fare to Burlington and as poor as when I came to the city
and with a very poor wardrobe.
This is as much of a history as you could put in a nutshell. But
a much larger history of recollections during my stay at Iowa City
could be written.
The above is duly submitted at your request. The names of all
the people, young and old, are as fresh in my mind today as they
were forty-nine years ago.
On page 16, second line from the top, for Atlantic, Iowa, read
Page 18, for Byron Dennis, read Bryan Dennis.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIR
All persons who are non-residents of Johnson county, who were
residents of Iowa at the time of the adoption of the first state con-
stitution for the state of Iowa are eligible to membership. All
persons hereafter that have resided twenty years in Iowa and are
residents of Johnson county, may become members by applying to
the executive committee. Every member shall sign the constitu-
tion and pay to the treasurer fifty cents and thereafter twenty-five
The Old Settlers Association of Johnson county was organized
February 22, 1866.
President — David Switzer.
First Vice-President— F. M. Irish.
Second Vice-President — ROBERT Walker.
Treasurer — PETER RobePvTS.
Secretary — SiLAS FoSTER.
Committee to Draft Constitution. < T. S. Parvin
(E. W. Lucas